Will I Gain Weight On The Contraceptive Pill?

Do Birth Control Pills Cause Weight Gain?

Most doctors will tell you that you won't gain weight when you start taking the contraceptive pill - and most research seems to agree with them. Yet anecdotally, many women will tell you that they DO gain weight, on average about 4 pounds in the first 3 months. In reality it may be that the Pill causes fluid retention, or that the boost of hormones packed into the medication causes an increase in appetite so that you eat more. Other women who have been on the Pill for a few years complain of gradual creeping weight gain. In fact, this insidious weight gain is one of the main reasons why 40 to 60 percent of users give up taking it within the first 2 years. Yet, many women find that when they do quit, the weight does not miraculously disappear. This is probably because changing lifestyle choices and not just the Pill are a factor. For example, the famous 'freshman 15' is a term used to denote the average 15 pounds that girls gain in the first year of college. While some of this weight gain may be related to starting the Pill, most of it will be due to extra calorie intake related to bad diet (no more home cooked meals!) and drinking alcohol. If that’s not enough, when they leave college and start working, the stress of a new job, paying bills and entering the 'adult world' can result in healthy eating habits and regular exercise staying off the priority list. This is how ‘bad’ habits form and why so many women gain weight in their 20s. In other words, life happens!

Bottom line: The birth control Pill may cause some weight gain, but by consistently following a healthy eating plan and making regular exercise a priority, the gain can be minimal, or non existent. However, if you know you’re the type that only needs to look at a cookie to gain weight, then it is worth talking to your doctor about taking Yasmin. This birth control Pill is used by a million women worldwide and is available in the United States and Europe. Initial studies show that it may even help weight loss: women who took it over a year lost nearly 2 pounds on average, while those taking other leading brands gained nearly 2 pounds. It should be noted that it is not a weight loss pill, but rather it helps prevents water retention and bloating.

Useful Information About Birth Control Pills

CANCER: The Pill does NOT raise a woman's breast cancer risk factors. It may even reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. However studies show it may increase the risk of cervical cancer (read about the causes of cervical cancer).
INFERTILITY: It does not cause infertility. Women who quit the Pill and have problems getting pregnant should not blame the Pill, advancing age is more likely to be a factor.
TAKING A BREAK: Despite the popular myth that you should take a break from the Pill every few years, it is not necessary. According to doctors, the only reason to stop taking the Pill is if you want to get pregnant. Of course, most women take the Pill for 3 weeks and naturally take a break any way on the fourth week when they get their period. Exceptions to this are women who are not advised to take the Pill in the first place, namely those who are aged over 35 and smoke and those with a history of blood clots, heart disease, stroke and cancer (read about the birth control pill and high blood pressure). If you are worried about how effective the Pill is, see: Can you get pregnant while taking the pill?

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• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions and Birth Control Methods

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